To writers, finishing a book is akin to the birth of a child, minus the screaming and filling of diapers, of course. It’s a brand new life (sort of), that didn’t exist before. Hopes and aspirations for its large scale success in the world are high, as are fears that it might accidentally meet a sudden and tragic end (lack of sales). The problem with this new life, to date, has always been the traditional publishing process. For the new life – book – to succeed required acceptance from a a group of gatekeepers, whom we’ll call the Overlords.
Until recently, the publishing process quickly devolved into a catch-22 situation for the writer. To flourish on a worldwide scale, the book had to be turned over to the Overlords, who would likely remake it entirely in their own image. They’d change the cover, the title, and probably a good portion of the words inside. By the time they were finished, your book didn’t really resemble in appearance or content the one you so intimately constructed one word at a time over a course of months or years.
But now the Overlords are faltering. Losing their grip in the face of the independent publishing revolution. Publish on demand companies like CreateSpace (affiliated with Amazon.com) and Lulu are changing the face of publishing on a daily basis as more and more mainstream authors choose to maintain creative control over their product. As long as it isn’t obscene and you have the proper copyrights to images, you can make your cover look however you want. Same with the back cover blurb, author photo, title, and contents. While it’s more than a good idea to have a professional editor put your finished manuscript through the wringer, writers no longer find themselves at the mercy of the whim of an ivory-towered Overlord who simply thinks your approach to the material isn’t to his liking.
Eventually the Overlords will figure out a way to transform themselves to the new publishing reality – or perish clinging to a quaint, old-fashioned, unprofitable business model. Long live the independent publisher. Death to the Overlords! Well, not a literal death but we do applaud the collapse of their creativity-stifling assembly line book approval process.
The Speaking of Wealth Team
Flickr / TheCreativePenn